Young Blood

September 22, 2016 12:08 AM

A short song on a new ukulele about a thing I saw from a helicopter in Hawaii.

Series of events:

My wife's at an academic conference this week, which is happening in Hawaii, and so we're both in Hawaii for the first time in our lives, and on Monday we drove across the Big Island from where we're staying to Hilo to catch a helicopter flyover of among other stuff the Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava lake at Kīlauea and some lava flowing right into the goddam sea.

You don't get a super close-up view in the helicopter, but it's still a hell of a sight. And the cloud of steam coming up from the ocean where the lava is flowing in is striking and visible from a long way off.

Then, today, I went ukulele shopping and ended up buying a nice little koa-top concert uke from a tiny combination uke store/gallery and head shop in Hawi, on the north tip of the island. It's keen.

But then also, a week and a half ago at XOXO, I ran into a1phab3t, the fella who runs Songfight, and I haven't done one of those in a looooong time and decided I ought to get back to it. And I worked on a song for the the title theme (and Peter Thiel in-joke) "Young Blood" last week and made some decent progress but didn't get anything put down on tape before I had to fly to Hawaii. But then I flew over a volcano! And bought a uke! And so things sort of fell into place and I wrote a whole other song, if a pretty short one, and recorded it in my hotel room this afternoon on my iphone, and here we are.

This feels sort of like a companion piece to last summer's Rocket City—new place, new instrument, song about something from my first impressions—but sonically it's a lot rawer, sort of Guided By Ukuleles.

posted by cortex (6 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite


Looking out of the door
of the chartered helicopter
at the rough Hilo shore
lava pouring into the water

There's a white cloud
bigger than God's beard
where the young blood
spills in the ocean

That's the process
that's creation
that's where the
whole fucking
world we're on
comes from

Young blood
pumping up out of the
heart of the earth

Young blood
wild and hot and not
knowing it's worth but then

Young blood cools
young blood gets old

posted by cortex at 12:10 AM on September 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

This is good. The world needs more songs mentioning beards.
posted by Wordshore at 12:33 AM on September 22, 2016

Reminiscent of a story-telling folk ballad if they had helicopters back then. You recorded this on the iPhone? It sounds pretty good. Something tells me you would not want a super close-up view of a volcanic eruption.
posted by AppleSeed at 3:49 AM on September 22, 2016

Thanks, y'all.

Also I realized after the fact that I mispronounced Hilo: it should be HEE-loh, not HIGH-loh. One of a million little bits of my keen awareness this last week at how little I know about Hawaiian phonetics and place names and so on, which isn't a huge issue in practice but makes me feel like as much of a tourist as I am.
posted by cortex at 6:03 PM on September 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

(The more egregious error there being calling it the Hilo shore to begin with; the helicopter took off from Hilo but booked it hard south to the Kamokuna ocean entry on the south coast, below Kīlauea's Pu'u ʻŌʻō vent. I should just rewrite that line in the future.)
posted by cortex at 6:48 AM on September 26, 2016

This is super cool. It's mine and my kids' favorite entry in the fight this week.
posted by ajryan at 1:05 PM on October 2, 2016

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